Friday, June 25, 2010

Bible and God missing from Gillard's swearing in ceremony

There has been much discussion in the Christian community about the religious beliefs or otherwise of Australia's new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

This is understandable as Christians had become accustomed to having professing Christians as Prime Minister and Opposition leader.

Few definitive statements are available on this topic although ACV posted comments yesterday showing that Ms Gillard believes connecting with Christian communities is valuable.

Today the issue of her swearing in has surfaced with people noting she did not make her affirmation on the Bible nor include words such as 'so help me God' (included, for example, in the swearing in of Governor General Quentin Bryce).

The video below confirms that there was no Bible or reference to God in the ceremony while a photo from Kevin Rudd's prime ministerial swearing in clearly shows him holding a Bible

ACV Opinion: The lack of a Bible is in keeping with Ms Gillard's views about secular government and may not reflect her personal beliefs, although it would seem to suggest she is not a person of faith.

Because of this, she is attracting condemnation in some internet chatter. However it is important to consider that if she does not believe in God, it is more honest of her to be sworn in without a Bible. It does not mean that God cannot work through her government. As Christians we believe all governmental authority is ultimately from God, regardless of the beliefs of individuals involved.

It is vital that Christians respond intelligently to the political situation and make judgements about how to vote on the broad range of policy decisions, rather than symbols and rituals that can easily be manipulated.

However, it is clear that the Labor Party under Ms Gillard is less likely to be openly responsive to Christian perspectives. All the more reason to stay well informed on the emerging political scene - keep reading Australian Christian Voter!

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